Week 7 1/2- Arrived Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)

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Welcome to Saigon! It’s been a really good week so far, but it just passes by so fast! Saigon has a lot more people than Hanoi, and the traffic is heavier to the point where they don’t care as much if they run you over (not to say they don’t care…just less so). The air is also a lot less polluted here, so I can actually see a nice cloud every now and then, and also some pretty decent sunsets from our room window. That being said, that also means there’s more sun, so I’m getting browner and browner which is not fun. When I come back, I’m gonna look as dark as a cambodian.

My new companion is Elder Tri. He’s a tall gangly guy from Texas, but he’s a great guy and an awesome missionary, so I’m glad to be his companion. One of the reasons that he’s so cool is that he did a lot of Southern barbecue back at home, so that means that this week, we did a lot of feasting on American barbecued meat and it’s awesome! The food here in Saigon is also a lot more diverse than in Hanoi. Literally my first day here, we went to eat at a Popeye’s (it tastes just like american popeye’s). But there are a ton more vietnamese dishes to eat down here than in Hanoi, so I will be well fed for my time here. I’m serving in an area called Thao Dien, which is the same area that my family and I visited and went to church to last year. It’s really cool because Elder Toan, one of my last companions, was serving in that area when we visited last summer, and he remembers our family. So it was really cool to find out that about a year later, that same kid who visited his church building the year before is now his trainee. Anyways, when I went to the church building for the first time, I also met Elder Toan’s former companion who served with him in that area at that time. Elder Chuong. He’s a return missionary now and lives in the Thao Dien area, and he also remembers me. So it was pretty awesome to meet those missionaries that we had met with before. Apparently a couple of the members also remember who I was so that’s cool. The thing about Thao Dien is that it needs a lot of work. It’s the weakest branch in the whole country, so we need to put in a lot of work to build it back up. It’s a ton of biking over here, a lot more than I’ve biked on my mission. It takes about 25 minutes to get to our church building, and 45 minutes to get to the other church building where we teach English class. On the way to that building, we have to bike up and over this giant bridge that spans over the Saigon river, so it’s always a workout whenever we go over there. But no complaints so far; it’s been fun.
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We’ve done a ton of street contacting this week, and there are a few people we found that could be really good potential investigators. I’m excited to see what we can share with them. We have no recent converts and no progressing investigators, but a lot of less actives. So our overall plan is going to be finding new investigators and reactivation of those less actives. Like I said, this branch needs a lot of work, but I think we can do it. I’m learning a lot about the new area here, so hopefully the work can start progressing.
I miss you all and I hope you are all doing ok back at home, or in your respective fields if youre a missionary. Take care everyone and I’ll talk to you next week!
Elder Phan

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